Developer: Studio Fizben
Publisher: Headup Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: August 3, 2018 (EU & NA)
When I first played The Inner World a few weeks ago, I thought it was a pleasant surprise. For the most part, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk, from developer Fizben and publisher Headup Games, stays true to the successful formula they found in their first title. Keeping the same charming graphical art style, using a clever inventory-based puzzle system, and sticking with an intriguing story, The Last Wind Monk definitely makes for a great sequel to The Inner World, so long as you appreciate old-school point-and-click adventures.
It’s highly encouraged to have played the original title first, as The last Wind Monk takes place three years after The Inner World ended. You’d think everyone would have lived happily ever after once Robert changed the innocent people of Asposia back from stone and petrified the evil Conroy. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as a new leader named Emil has brainwashed the citizens of Asposia into thinking he is the only one who knows the truth. He ends up framing Robert and all other flute-noses and states they controlled the Basylians (Wind God) to kill Conroy.
Robert is still the main protagonist and in The Inner World discovered he was the rightful heir to the king of Asposia. He also found out Conroy murdered his father and was trying to cover it up. The Last Wind Monk starts in an unusual way with Robert being already petrified from his unfortunate clumsy stumble over a semi-broken Basylian. You start off playing as Peck, Robert’s pigeon friend, and the first ‘tutorial’-like puzzle you solve is just trying to de-petrify Robert. A common theme you will run across while playing, and this is true of the first game as well, is that the puzzles are very obtuse and it can be seen in this first puzzle sequence.
Given the darker tone of The Last Wind Monk about a totalitarian society, I was at first worried that this charming world was no longer a place for respite. It seemed like all the actions from the first title had an adverse effect and actually made things worse with undertones of racism and bigotry present. Thankfully, for all its dreary undertones there still is are engaging and silly characters to interact with. While some attempts at humor fall flat, it was nice to have a break from the oppressive atmosphere the game conveys.
Fortunately, once freed Peck acts as another playable character who can be selected from your inventory. Peck is able to fly and reach things that Robert can’t, and this provides a whole new way of interacting with objects in The Last Wind Monk. You also gain the loud and independent Laura from the first game to help. She is stronger than Robert and can move heavier objects, so having some new companions to help you on your journey adds some much needed new gameplay mechanics.
First off, many quality of life changes have been made to make The Last Wind Monk stand out from the original title. I’m happy to report that you can use touch controls now and they work well. You can tap an area to move your character there or hold your finger on the screen to automatically highlight all interactive objects. I also liked the ability to drag-and-drop certain items by opening your inventory by pushing an arrow in the bottom left of the screen and dragging the item to an object or NPC you want to interact with. The only downside is that you can only use one controller option at once, so you can’t use touch controls with the joy-cons or vice versa.
The Last Wind Monk also allows for easier navigation between dialogue choices between your character and NPC’s, meaning the text boxes and sentences have been made larger. You can tell the developers made special design choices to allow for full touch control methods while playing and it makes playing the game more fun and intuitive. This really improves the gameplay and removes the frustration of using button controls, which I never found easy to use in the original title.
At its core, The Last Wind Monk is your standard point-and-click adventure title and revolves around solving puzzles, investigating interesting points, using items to solve more puzzles, and speaking to NPC characters in order to advance the story. I appreciated how most of the puzzles this time around were logical and blended seamlessly with the actual story. There are still some strange puzzle solving mechanics involved, but for the most part, they never became stale or boring. It also helped that there is a hint system in place in case you get stuck.
The voice acting is still well done for the most part and remains consistent between actors, with Robert’s still nasally whine sounding just as real as ever. The music is of a similar quality as before, though perhaps not to the same level of success. The lighthearted eccentric score is well-produced and performed, but lacks any real memorable tracks, apart from the themes carried over from the first game.
The animations and colorful art do the visuals justice and bring life to an otherwise drab world. The locales this time around are all new, and include such places as the hidden temple of the wind monks, a tumble mouse factory, and a floating cable car station with an inverted pull of gravity. There’s a level of bleakness to be found here too, however, with the dark red signed banners and barbed-wire chain link fences adorning some of the backgrounds, rather than the whimsical motifs found in The Inner World.
Overall, The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk is a game you will love to play if you liked the first title and is still one of the better point-and-click styled adventures available. On the Switch, you can buy both games together and it is highly advised you had played the first game before diving into The Last Wind Monk. There are many interesting themes present with discrimination, acceptance, and willful ignorance being at the forefront and this is often presented in humorous and surprisingly deep ways. The new gameplay mechanics and clever hint system might be just enough to give this point-and-click adventure a shot, even if you don’t care for the genre.
The Verdict: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Headup Games
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